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Stephen Colbert to succeed retiring David Letterman

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Stephen Colbert will succeed Late Show host David Letterman upon his retirement next year, CBS has said.

Colbert, 49, is host of Comedy Central's acclaimed late-night satire programme The Colbert Report.

Letterman, 66, said last week he was retiring after 21 years hosting the CBS show and 11 years on NBC's Late Night.

On his show, Colbert plays a satirical version of himself to mock right-wing pundits. He has suggested he will retire the character for the new show.

"Stephen Colbert is one of the most inventive and respected forces on television," CBS president Leslie Moonves wrote in a statement following the announcement.

"David Letterman's legacy and accomplishments are an incredible source of pride for all of us here, and today's announcement speaks to our commitment of upholding what he established for CBS in late night."

On his popular and influential Emmy-winning Comedy Central programme, Colbert's biting brand of satire has drawn critical acclaim as well as provoking ire, often from the Republicans and conservatives he skewers.

Of his hiring to the Late Show top spot, Colbert said, "simply being a guest on David Letterman's show has been a highlight of my career."

"I never dreamed that I would follow in his footsteps, though everyone in late night follows Dave's lead."

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